Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
John B. D'Alessandro
Call to Schedule a Consultation Today

Navigating Prenuptial Agreements in New Jersey: Understanding the Legal Requirements and Limitations

Prenuptial agreement and wedding ring on table. Premarital paperwork process in europe close up

When considering marriage, many couples in New Jersey opt to establish a clear financial understanding through a prenuptial agreement. Prenuptial agreements, commonly referred to as “prenups,” offer a practical solution for managing financial matters and protecting assets should the marriage dissolve. Before drawing up a prenup, though, it’s important to understand the legal requirements for such a document to be valid and enforceable under New Jersey law. It’s equally important to know what a prenup can and can’t do so that it serves your needs and expectations. Learn about these matters below, and for help with a prenuptial agreement in Union, Essex, or Middlesex County, contact the Law Offices of John B. D’Alessandro to visit with a skilled and experienced Union family law attorney.

Legal Framework for Prenuptial Agreements in New Jersey

New Jersey law regarding prenuptial agreements is governed by the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA), which was adopted to standardize the treatment of such agreements across states that have enacted it. Under New Jersey’s adoption of the UPAA, a prenuptial agreement must meet certain criteria to be considered valid and enforceable. Essential requirements for a valid prenuptial agreement in New Jersey include:

  1. Written Agreement: Oral agreements are not recognized under the UPAA. A prenuptial agreement in New Jersey must be in writing and signed by both parties. This formal requirement helps ensure that both parties acknowledge and understand the agreement’s terms formally and legally.

  2. Voluntary Execution: The agreement must be voluntarily signed by both parties. Any evidence of coercion, duress, or undue influence can render the agreement invalid. It is important that both parties have ample time to review and consider the agreement before the wedding to avoid claims of pressure or haste influencing the decision.

  3. Fair and Reasonable Disclosure: New Jersey law requires full and fair disclosure of all financial assets and liabilities by both parties before signing the prenuptial agreement. Each party must have a clear understanding of the other’s financial situation unless this requirement is expressly waived in writing. Lack of adequate financial disclosure can be a valid ground for challenging the enforceability of a prenuptial agreement.

  4. Independent Legal Counsel: While not an absolute requirement under New Jersey law, it is highly advisable for each party to seek independent legal counsel. Having an attorney helps ensure that each party’s legal rights are protected and that they fully understand the agreement’s implications. If a party opts not to have legal representation, this choice should be explicitly stated in the prenuptial agreement.

  5. Consideration of Circumstances: The agreement must not only be fair at the time of signing but also must not become unconscionable at the time of enforcement. This means that a prenuptial agreement that might seem reasonable at the time of marriage could be invalidated later if, due to changes in circumstances, its enforcement would be significantly unfair to one party.

Limitations of Prenuptial Agreements

While prenuptial agreements can cover a range of financial aspects and arrangements, there are certain limitations under New Jersey law:

  • Child Support and Custody: Prenuptial agreements cannot predetermine child support or custody arrangements. These matters are determined based on the child’s best interests at the time of the divorce or separation, not preemptively through prenuptial planning.

  • Non-Financial Matters: The agreement cannot include terms that govern non-financial aspects of the marriage, such as chores, relationships with in-laws, or decisions about children.

Contact the Law Offices of John B. D’Alessandro for Help With Premarital Agreements in Union, New Jersey

Prenuptial agreements are valuable tools for couples looking to manage their financial affairs and protect their assets as they enter into marriage. In New Jersey, the clarity provided by the UPAA helps ensure that these agreements meet strict standards for fairness and enforceability. For couples in Union, Essex, and Middlesex counties considering a prenuptial agreement, it is crucial to adhere to these legal requirements. Consulting with a knowledgeable family law attorney, such as those at the Law Offices of John B. D’Alessandro, can provide the necessary guidance and representation to craft a fair and valid prenuptial agreement. Call us today at 908-964-0102 to discuss your needs and goals and find out how we can help.

Contact Form Tab